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Cultures of Mesopotamia


									                     Cultures of Mesopotamia

  -   Centered around the “fertile crescent”
  -   Disputed site of the Garden of Eden
  -   Different from Egypt in that it encountered many changes
  -   Divided into two major periods
         o Sumerian (3500-2350 b.c.)
         o Semitic (2350-612 b.c.)
               People who speak semitic language (Hebrew-Arabic)
               The ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites,
                 Eblaites, Hebrews, and Phoenicians also were

  - People gathered around the temple (ziggurat)
  - Gods were natural
  - Religious holidays centered around seasons
  - Priests had power of religion and economic affairs
  - Rulers (kings) were NOT gods

Sumerians (3500-2350 b.c.)
  - Urban Planners
       o Centered around a temple
  - Said to have invented city-state, formal religion, writing,
    math, law
       o Writing – Cuneiform
             Used to keep records
             Administer cities on a larger scale
             Highly organized society
  - Agricultural settlements
  - Located around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
  - Land is very flat
      o Built dikes & canals to protect against flooding
  - Ruler named Gilgamesh written about
      o Quest for the meaning of life

Semitic (2350-612 b.c.)
Akkadian Period (2350-2150 b.c.)
  - Control of Mesopotamia under King Sargon
  - Art: positive attitude of human achievement

Neo-Sumerian Period (2150-1900 b.c.)
  - Violent invasion of Gutians from Iran
  - Cities reverted to earlier practices
Babylonian Period (1900-1600 b.c.)
  - People unified again under Babylonian rule
  - King Hammurabi wrote laws
        o Very egalitarian for the time
Kassite Period (1600-1150 b.c.)
  - Nomadic tribe that settled Mesopotamia and controlled
Assyrian Period (1150-612 b.c.)
  - Built huge palaces (Nimrud by Assurnasipal II)
        o Art decorations mostly religious
        o Some show hunting and great deeds done by king
        o Art: honorific, militaristic, impressive, designed to
          frighten and awe visitors
  - Occupies and controls Egypt for a period

612 b.c. Assyrian Empire falls to nomadic tribes
     1st: Medes
     2nd: Persians

   NEW Babylonian Empire (626-526 b.c.)
      o Resists outsiders
      o Strong kings like Nebuchadnezzar II
     Hanging Gardens
     Tower of Babel
o Does fall to Persians
o Later to Alexander the Great

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